FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A group of Central Valley elected officials are urging people to vote against a statewide initiative on the November ballot.

The Tribal Sports Wagering Act would allow in-person sports betting exclusively at tribal casinos and certain horse racetracks.

It is different from another initiative proposing sports betting online.

“The qualified tribal gaming measure would be a disaster for the Central Valley, an absolute disaster,” said City Councilman Karbassi. “(It’s) threatening to eliminate jobs in our community at a time when they’re needed the most.”

If approved by California voters in November, sports betting would only be allowed at tribal casinos or certain horse racetracks.

This is not to be confused with another measure on the November ballot related to online gaming.

You might have seen ads from tribal leaders against that one. 
Tribes are in favor of the initiative Valley leaders are urging voters against it.

“We think it’s a responsible first step to establish sports betting in that way because with in-person gambling, you can check IDs, you can make sure that the people gambling aren’t under21,” said Kathy Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for Californians for Safe, Responsible Gaming.

But opponents believe it would also open the door for tribes to go after cardrooms. In Fresno, elected officials say Club One significantly contributes to the local economy. 

“Club One cardroom generates over a million dollars in revenue for the City of Fresno, and we use that money for police, fire, parks, infrastructure, repairing streets,” said Councilmember Luis Chavez. 

Fairbanks said tribal casinos are an asset to the economy as well. According to the American Gaming Association, tribal casinos currently contribute the following in California:

·     Supports 125,000 jobs annually

·     $9 billion in wages annually

·     $20 billion in annual economic impact

·     $3.45 billion annually paid to federal, state, and local taxes & tribal revenue sharing